tv ABC World News Saturday ABC August 14, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
i'm david wright. tonight on "world news," uproar. president obama's endorsement of a mosque near ground zero fuels a fierce debate. why did he weigh in and what has been the reaction? day at the beach. the first family's vacation to the gulf coast. will he lead the way for tourists to come back? extreme weather. life threatening heat from texas to ohio. plus violent storms on the way. and lasting kiss. 65 years ago today, that iconic kiss celebrating the end of war. we'll meet a woman who was there, a bystander to history. good evening. it is a highly charged issue, and the president obama has now made himself the lightning rod. should a muslim prayer center be
built two blocks from ground zero where nearly 3,000 americans were killed on 9/11. he took the issue on at a dinner celebrating the start of the muslim holy month of ramadan. >> as a citizen and as president, i believe that muslims have the right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. >> today, the controversy followed him on his vacation to florida, so we begin with david kerley traveling with the president. the president addressed the issue again today. this time, with more carefully calibrated language. what did he have to say? >> well, david, call it a clarification. here in the gulf, the president said he's not siding with those who want to build a mosque near ground zero. only pointing out that one of the basic tenants of this country is religious freedom. >> wasn't commenting on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. i was commenting on the right
that people have that dates back to our founding. that's what our country is about. >> but the comments last night and in that comment today has caused a fire storm. late today, the white house felt compelled to put out a statement saying the president is not backing down from what he said last night. we can call it a refinement. >> a refinement, indeed. thanks. we'll come back to you in just a minute to hear more about the president's day in the gulf. first we want to go to ground zero itself where linsey davis is covering reaction to the president's comments. >> good evening. i spoke with a woman this afternoon who lost her brother on september 11th. he was one of the pilots. she said she felt like the president betrayed the country. there are others who say the president was simply defending the constitution. the building at the center of the storm is so close to ground zero, part of a plane's landing gear smashed through the roof. muslims had been praying here unnoticed for months until they
announced plans to turn the building into a massive community center with a mosque, theater, and swimming pool. for weeks, the white house dodged the debate. >> this is a widely matter for new york city and the local community to decide. >> as soon as president obama weighed in, he set off a firestorm. >> what the president should have said is the muslim community has the right to construct a mosque, but they also have the responsibility to talk to the families and for the president to ignore that and just talk about the abstract, about the right, he totally missed the point. >> most 9/11 families object to the prayer center. >> i don't want it overlooking the site with my son was murdered that day by 19 muslim terrorists. >> this man also lost his son on september 11th. >> am i very much in favor of religious tolerance. i don't believe the 19 people who flew the planes and the people who supported them represent islam. >> last may, the woman behind
the project explained to me why they want the prayer center here. >> there would be no better place because the tragedy of 9/11 affected us all. >> and it's not just new york. in murfreesboro, tennessee, hundreds of protesters have denounced plans for a muslim center proposed near a subdivision. in the last few weeks, there have been protests about planned mosques in several states which suggests this isn't only about sacred ground. the $100 million project is set to be built two blocks away from here. it still faces fund racing and legal problems. the earliest it would open would be 2014. >> linsey davis, thank you. the president's defense of the mosque would seem to carry political risk. a time cnn poll released found 68% of americans oppose the mosque proposal compared to 29% in favor. and so we turn to christian ris
amanpour, host of this week. i wonder if the president had the numbers in mind when he seemed to dial back his endorsement today. >> of course what president obama has said is bound to infuriate some and please others. interestingly, another poll shows similar approval/disapproval rates, but when it comes to asking americans if they believe where they group has the right to build an islamic mosque in the center, 61% say yes and 31% say no. enskriened in the constitution, the right to religious freedom. >> very briefly, how are these remarks likely to play overseas, perhaps in the islamic world itself? >> president obama has reached out from the beginning to the islamic world. hearts and minds are vital, particularly where the united states is at war in iraq and afghanistan. and it's in pakistan as the u.s. provides relief there, winning hearts and minds where it needs
to. >> thanks very much. >> and of course, we'll have much more on this tomorrow. also, one of the president's top economic advisers on abc's this week tomorrow morning. >> we want to go back to gulf where president obama is vacationing with his family. it's the first time he's been there since the oil stopped gushing. and david kerley is with him in panama city, florida. david, this visit is not exactly r & r, correct? >> no, it isn't, david. the president is doing a little selling, a little reassuring, telling the country with the well capped now, the gulf of mexico is open for business after the devastating oil spill. they took their own advise, coming to the gulf course for a short vacation with the president becoming tourist director in chief. >> to americans all across the country, come on down and visit. >> billions are at stake. beaches closed today because of strong currents, not oil, certainly aren't crowded. one study suggests up to a
quarter off the gulf's business could be lost over the years. nearly $23 billion, but it's not just tourism. >> we also want to keep our focus here and not simply forget it just because the well is capped. >> he said his administration will stay on the job. and on top of bp until the gulf is clean. this beach which saw only a few tar balls, is clean. and angie weaver from virginia is surprised it's so quiet. >> it's clean. it's warm. feels good. >> we like it here. >> the beaches are fine to come to. >> what many residents want to see is the president in the gulf waters. they got their wish. the white house releasing this photo of the president with his daughter sasha. but the president will not allow the media to photograph him shirtless as they have in the past. >> i'm not going to let you take a picture of me without my shirt on. because you'll tease me, just like the last time. i was on the front page of -- people commenting.
>> someone yelled out it would be good if the president let the media take his picture shirtless. michelle obama yelled out, no, it's not. so we don't expect to see him without a shirt in front of reporters. >> that would distract attention away from the oil. we learned it could be monday or tuesday before bp engineers get permission to finish drilling the relief well that will seal that well for good. but the investigation into what caused this disaster is far from over. the key to it is still sitting on the ocean floor. matt gutman tells us more about that. >> there's no black box, the electronic transmissions were consumed by this inferno and sank to their watery grave 5,000 feet down along with the rig. the next closest thing for investigators is this, the blow-out preventer. a stack of valves four stories high that was supposed to be the first and last lines of defense. every one of these systems failed. investigators badly want to know why, but can't do that until the
well has been permanently sealed. much of the heavy lifting to bring that up to the surface will be done by a squad of deep sea robots. the coast guard will take the leading investigative role, but a half a dozen other agencies are involved. all while the blow-out preventer waits for the section at a nasa facility in new orleans. and this is what investigators are going to have to contend with. this is one component of seven that made up the blow-out preventer system. they would be higher than the shed, and together, they would weigh over 100 tons. all those clues may be inside. part of this is about a criminal investigation, and i wonder if learning what happened inside one of these can actually tell you who is to blame. >> well, it can sure narrow down the field, the equipment, we know who is responsible for certain pieces of equipment. if there's a problem found with the equipment, it's factual information that could be used to determine the truth.
>> coast guard officials tell abc news this may not be the first time a blow-out preventer has been so closely scrutinized, but it may be the most important time. in buffalo, new york, a man celebrating his first wedding anniversary was among four partygoers who were shot dead early today. four others were wounded outside a local restaurant. police say the manager had kicked everybody out because of an altercation. that's when the shooting started. a suspect is now in custody. we turn next to the devastating floods in pakistan where the misery is growing tonight. the number of people without food, shelter, or water has now reached 6 million, threatening the stability of a country that has been a crucial partner in the fight against terrorism. jim sciutto is in pakistan. >> on pakistan's independence day, there was no time for celebrations. just more dismal news. 20 million people now homeless, leaving many living out in the open.
and today, the first confirmed cases of cholera. without clean water, there are fears it could spread quickly, making this an even graver catastrophe. we found many families facing the crisis all on their own. i have lost nearly everything, he said, and still haven't received any government help. for u.s. army air crews operating here, clear weather meant the first relief flights in days. the day we joined them as we hopped from one battered village to another. these american helicopters are making stops like this across pakistan's hard hit valley, and what they're finding are people in desperate need of food, medicine, and crucially clean drinking water. the u.s. relief effort, $71 million, 19 helicopters, is intended in part to burnish america's dismal image here. >> if it has a longer lasting
beneficial effect regarding the relationship between the united states and pakistan, that would be tremendously valuable, certainly something i hope for. >> chideing the rest of the international community for provided little support, they launched a $500 million appeal. billions more will be need for rebuilding here, now expected to take years. >> still ahead on "world news" this saturday, extreme heat and soaking rains. an entire city without drinking water. why an unusual weather pattern is to blame. >> should a rail company that carries jews to concentration camps be allowed to operate in this country? a holocaust survivor speaks out tonight. and witness to a kiss. the nurse who treasures her small spot in history 65 years ago today. [ female announcer ] it's crabfest at red lobster.
for many, nexium helps relieve heartburn symptoms caused by acid reflux disease. and for the majority of patients with prescription coverage for nexium, it can cost $30 or less per month. headache, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are possible side effects of nexium. other serious stomach conditions may still exist. ask your doctor if nexium can help relieve your heartburn symptoms. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. it w it was another sweltering day for millions of americans. take a look at the map. extreme heat from the south to the midwest. meanwhile, in ames, iowa, water water everywhere, but nothing to drink. >> colfax, iowa, is drowning. days of heavy rains have submerged cars in 6 to 8 feet of water. convenience stores are islands. >> this home where i'm living now we built in 1963. and i have never, ever seen anything like it. >> flood waters have finally receded in iowa, but what is
left behind is barely salvageable. >> i woke up at 6:00 and looked outside. there were people a little more than knee deep wading through the water outside. >> 50,000 people are without drinking water until next week. fema has mobilized 25 trucks filled with bottled water. like much of the midwest, iowa has been soaked repeatedly by storms and more are on the way. one study shows a dramatic increase in the days of heavy rainfall since 1958. a 27% increase in the midwest. more than double that in the northeast. meteorologists blame an unusual weather pattern. >> the pattern we have seen that is lots of heat in the southern tier, cooler in the plains hasn't changed so as a result, we have seen storm after storm after storm move across the central plains. >> in chicago, and other cities across the country, it's extreme heat that has people suffering. it's one of the hottest augusts
on record in the windy city. at the annual air and water show, people used water, fans, and umbrellas to keep cool. >> it's so hot that my sweat is in fact sweating. >> the heat will be moving away from the midwest and south, head for the normally mieltd northwest. and this may look like an ordinary city bus, but today, it's a cooling center. one of many ways the city of chicago is trying to keep its residents cool, especially considering we haven't seen a day under 80 since july 1st. >> thanks. one medical note tonight, a new study shows trauma early in life can have effect at the end of life and can actually hasten death. researchers found those who experienced distress and abuse in childhood showed higher levels of stress hormones and a weakened immune system. that could bring about earlier death. when we come back, never forget, a rail company hoping to build high speed trains in america once carried jews to concentration camps.
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nothing beats prevacid®24hr. just one pill helps keep you heartburn free for a full 24 hours. prevent the acid that causes frequent heartburn with prevacid®24hr, all day, all night. nothing works better. here in the u.s., there are big plans to build high speed railways with trains that travel so fast they could give the airlines a run for their money.
but one of the companies bidding for contracts has ties to world war ii and the holocaust. >> leo still has his yellow star. >> it's like a badge of honor. >> he was 21 in 1942 when he was forced aboard a train from france bound for auschwitz. >> here, train number 42. leo breholz. born on the 6th of march, '21, indiana. >> what is it like to see your name in this? >> it's when i first got this book, i got shivers run down my spine. >> that train was operated by the french national railroad sncf, which still exists. today, smcf runs a very successful high-speed rail system and is hoping to win contracts to build similar lines here in the u.s. leo is one of hundreds of american holocaust survivors who say no way. >> the workers that put us into
the train were employees of the sncf. >> sncf transported more than 75,000 people to nazi camps, most died. leo survived because he pried open the bars and escaped. >> we were always talking about eventually running away. >> the u.s. plans four high speed lines with trains going up to 220 miles an hour. the biggest is in california. officials there recently broke ground on a station in san francisco. that will run the length of the state and the bid is expected to be worth billions. sncf said it has the expertise, but critics say the company has never fully acknowledged its past. >> they made money by sending people to the camps. they were paid by head. >> sncf said it had no choice. >> any disobeying of the nazi orders would result not only in the death of the employee but in
the death of the employee's family. >> it is owned by the government which has apologize today the victims of the holocaust. the company says that should be enough, but leo wants a direct apology from the people who put him on that train. for him and so many others who did not survive. >> that's why i'm speaking out loud, for those whose voices have been silenced. when we come back, that famous kiss from world war ii 65 years ago today from the perspective of a woman who was there. an who was thereit was a y to me. i found out that connected to our muscles are nerves that send messages through the body. my doctor diagnosed it as fibromyalgia, thought to be the result of overactive nerves that cause chronic, widespread pain. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. i learned lyrica can provide significant relief from fibromyalgia pain. and with less pain, i can do more of what matters to me.
[ female announcer ] lyrica is not for everyone. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behavior or any swelling or affected breathing, or skin, or changes in eyesight, including blurry vision or muscle pain with fever or tired feeling. common side effects are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. i found answers about fibromyalgia. then i found lyrica. ask your doctor about lyrica today. then i found lyrica. i'm from the gulf coast. i vacation here, my family spends a lot of time here. i have a personal, vested interest in ensuring that we get this job done right. i'm keith seilhan. i'm in charge of bp's cleanup on the gulf coast. bp has taken full responsibility for cleanup in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. you may have heard that oil is no longer flowing into the gulf. there's less oil coming ashore every day,
but we still have thousands of people ready to clean it up if it does. when oil is spotted, we get right to work. we're working with the coast guard and many other government agencies. summer is the busiest time on the gulf, so every day, we're working with residents and local business owners to make sure beaches are clean and that they can stay open. and our efforts won't come at any cost to taxpayers. the work's not over. we're not going anywhere. it may not be perfect every time, but we're going to be here as long as it takes to make this right. so i take one a day men's 50+ advantage. as a manager, my team counts on me to stay focused. it's the only complete multivitamin with ginkgo to support memory and concentration. plus it supports heart health. [ bat cracks ] that's a hit. one a day men's. but ordinary manual brushes can leave up to 50% of plaque behind. that's why you want an oral-b power brush. inspired by dental tools,
these couples were re-enacted one of the iconic images of that day. the one captured by the famed photographer for life magazine of the sailor and nurse in passionate embrace. a black and white moment of celebration. >> i was in nurses training school. up on 5th avenue and 105th. >> gloria wasn't the nurse in that famous picture, but she was there that day. that's her over at the far left corner of the frame. >> i just stopped and turned to look, get a full view of the sailor and the nurse. and that's, i guess, when he just took the picture. >> she says in the time it took her to walk through the crowd from 7th to 8th avenue, she herself was kissed a dozen times. >> my uniform was a mess, my cuffs were off, lost my cuff links. it was just a wonderful day. >> she's not in the picture. she's in a second one shot the exact same moment. she didn't even realize the
camera had caught her until years later when a friend of hers spotted that image in a newspaper. >> there was a picture, the second picture. and she said, you're in the picture. >> a bystander to one of the world's most famous photographs. an emotional scene she'll never forget. >> it kind of chokes me up now because we, as a nation, we can really get together and we'll survive anything. >> 65 years ago today. that's it for "world news" this saturday. i'm david wright. dan harris will be here tomorrow night. for all of us at abc news, thanks for watching. for all of us at abc news, thanks for watching. good night. captions by vitac ♪
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